Sunday, October 21, 2007

Manga (漫画 Manga developed from a mixture of ukiyo-e and foreign styles of drawing, and took its current form shortly after World War II. Recently, Manga are read by almost all Japanese social classes and age groups. Themes include sports, romance, historical drama, comedy, soap operas, fantasy, mystery and horror.
It comes mainly in black and white, except for the covers and sometimes the first few pages; in some Animanga (anime printed in manga style) all the pages are colored. They usually originate in Japan, China, or other East Asian countries.
Popular manga are often adapted into anime (Japanese for animation) once a market interest has been established. Adapted stories are often modified to appeal to a more mainstream market. Although not as common, original anime is sometimes adapted into manga.
There is a popular misconception in English speaking countries that the word "manga" refers to Japanese animation (anime). This is in part due to the name and logo of the Manga Entertainment distribution company, who have brought many anime productions to western audiences.

Manga art first originated in Tokyo, Japan. Manga spread by the Showa Modan culture in around 1930. Manga in this era was made from low-priced paper and ink. It was sold not in bookstores, but in toy shops for children. The Imperial Japanese Army came to influence Manga strongly when the militarism of Japan strengthened in around 1940. (For instance, Norakuro is a popular poetic justice manga written by Suihō Tagawa in 1931.) When World War II ended, the United States culture was introduced into Japan again. Osamu Tezuka was influenced by Fleischer Studios and Walt Disney's styles, and developed the cartoon to Manga. The story and the tragedy were introduced by Tezuka Osamu. As the manga generation of children grew up, the market for comics expanded accordingly and manga soon became a major cultural force of Japan. Tezuka also contributed to the social acceptance of manga. His qualification as a medical doctor as well as the holder of Ph.D in medical science and his serious storylines were used to deflect criticism that manga was vulgar and undesirable for children.

Osamu Tezuka
Another important trend in manga was gekiga ("Dramatic Pictures"). Between the 1960s and the 1970s, there were two forms of comic serialization. One, the manga format, was based on the sales of anthology magazines which contained dozens of titles. The other, gekiga, was based on a rental format of an individual manga "book" of single title. Manga was based on weekly or biweekly magazine publications, so production was prompt, and the deadline was paramount. Consequently, most manga artists adopted Tezuka's style of drawing, where characters are drawn in a simpler but exaggerated manner, typified by the large round eyes regarded abroad as a defining feature of Japanese comics. In contrast, gekiga typically had more complex and mature story lines, with higher production value per page. For this reason, gekiga was considered to be artistically superior. However, gekiga's rental business model eventually died out in the 1970s, while manga artists significantly improved their graphic quality. Eventually, gekiga was absorbed into manga and now is used to describe a manga style which does not use cartoon-like drawing. Some examples of the gekiga-style manga are Kamui-den by Shirato Sanpei, Kyojin-no Hoshi by Kawasaki Noboru, Gorgo 13 by Saito Takao, and probably most famous abroad Akira by Ōtomo Katsuhiro.
However, gekiga did not only influence the art style of manga: after the 1970s, more mature-themed pictures and plot lines were used in manga. Many had significant depictions of violence and sexual activity, and were marketed at teenagers: unlike in Tezuka's time, children in the 1970s had more disposable income, so they could directly purchase manga without asking their parents to buy it for them. Thus, manga publishers did not need to justify their products to the parents. Moreover, the dominance of the serialized manga format on a weekly basis meant that manga was increasingly becoming "pulp fiction", with large amounts of violent content and some nudity (especially, although not exclusively, in manga aimed at boys). Representative titles of this genre were Harenchi Gakuen by Gō Nagai and Makoto-chan by Kazuo Umezu, both of which had copious amounts of gore, nudity, and vulgar (often scatological) jokes. Much like in the United States during the Comic book scare in the 40's and 50's, teachers and parents had objections to the content of manga, but unlike the U.S. no attempt was made to create an oversight board like the Comics Code Authority. Interestingly, manga magazines "for children" in the 1970s arguably had more vulgar themes (due to the fact that it was the only major publishing format available), but by the 1980s and 1990s, new magazines catering to teenagers and young adults had come into play.

Cultural importance
Manga magazines usually have many series running concurrently with approximately 20–40 pages allocated to each series per issue. These manga magazines, or "anthology magazines", as they are also known (colloquially "phone books"), are usually printed on low-quality newsprint and can be anywhere from 200 to more than 850 pages long. Manga magazines also contain one-shot comics and various four-panel yonkoma (equivalent to comic strips). Manga series can run for many years if they are successful. Manga artists sometimes start out with a few "one-shot" manga projects just to try to get their name out. If these are successful and receive good reviews, they are continued.
When a series has been running for a while, the stories are usually collected together and printed in dedicated book-sized volumes, called tankōbon. These are the equivalent of American comic's trade paperbacks. These volumes use higher-quality paper, and are useful to those who want to "catch up" with a series so they can follow it in the magazines or if they find the cost of the weeklies or monthlies to be prohibitive. Recently, "deluxe" versions have also been printed as readers have gotten older and the need for something special grew. Old manga have also been reprinted using somewhat lesser quality paper and sold for 100 yen (about one US dollar) each to compete with the used book market.
Manga are primarily classified by the age and gender of the target audience. In particular, books and magazines sold to boys (shōnen) and girls (shōjo) have distinctive cover art and are placed on different shelves in most bookstores.
Japan also has manga cafés, or manga kissa (kissa is an abbreviation of kissaten). At a manga kissa, people drink coffee and read manga, and sometimes stay there overnight.
Traditionally, manga are written from top to bottom and right to left, as this is the traditional reading pattern of the Japanese written language. Some publishers of translated manga keep this format, but other publishers flip the pages horizontally, changing the reading direction to left to right, so as not to confuse foreign audiences or traditional comics consumers. This practice is known as "flipping". For the most part, the criticisms suggest that flipping goes against the original intentions of the creator (for example, if a person wears a shirt that reads "MAY" on it, and gets flipped, then the word is altered to "YAM"). Another example includes the character Miroku from InuYasha, who has a black hole in his right hand: in the flipped and translated version, dialogue shows him having it in his right palm, but the drawings show it in his left hand. Flipping may also cause oddities with familiar asymmetrical objects or layouts, such as a car being depicted with gas pedal on the left and the brake on the right, or more astute readers may notice that all characters in manga may seem to be left-handed. It should be noted, however, that oddities and disparities between art and dialogue can usually be rectified by editing and proof-reading. The most obvious example of this in manga reproduced for a western audience is to be found in Dark Horse's reproductions of Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal, where the original sound effects, written text and page layouts are retained from the source material, with individual panels flipped horizontally. It is likely this was done to prevent offense to western readers - as the main character in the book sports a large manji (buddhist swastika, 卍), and simply flipping the book's pages would have resulted in him seeming to sport the nazi emblem.

Manga format
Some manga artists will produce extra, sometimes unrelated material, which are known as omake (lit. "bonus" or "extra"). They might also publish their unfinished drawings or sketches, known as oekaki (lit. "sketches").
Dōjinshi is produced by small amateur publishers outside of the mainstream commercial market in a similar fashion to small-press independently published comic books in the United States. Comiket, the largest comic book convention in the world with over 400,000 gathering in 3 days, is devoted to dōjinshi.
Unofficial fan-made comics are also called dōjinshi. Some dōjinshi continue with a series' story or write an entirely new one using its characters, much like fan fiction.

While 'manga' is defined as "a Japanese comic book or graphic novel",
However, like any artistic medium, there is no true set style for manga. Manga can range from the realistic to super deformed. Therefore, when manga is referenced as a style, it generally is specifically referring to the moe style of manga common to the fantasy genre and the most familiar style of manga to foreign readers.

Manga Classification of Manga
With an immense market in Japan, manga encompasses a very diverse range of subjects and themes, satisfying many readers of different interests. Popular manga aimed at mainstream readers frequently involves sci-fi, action, fantasy and comedy. Notable manga series are based on corporate businessman (the Shima Kousaku and Salaryman Kintaro series), Chinese cuisine (Iron Wok Jan), criminal thriller (Monster) and military politics (The Silent Service). As a result, many genres apply equally well to anime (which very often includes adaptations of manga) and Japanese computer games (some of which are also adaptations of manga).

Types of manga

Kodomo children
Shōjo young and teenage girls
Shōnen young and teenage boys

  • Battling companion (not an official name)
    Josei (or redikomi), mainly young women, but men too
    Redisu, women
    Seinen men
    Alternative (See also: Garo)

    • Gekiga (dramatic pictures)
      La nouvelle manga (Franco-Belgian/Japanese artistic movement)
      Semi-alternative (popular publication individualistic style)
      OEL manga (original English language manga)
      Dōjinshi Fan-art or self-published manga
      Magical girl (mahō shōjo)
      Gag, humour
      Jidaimono, historical
      Robot/Mecha (giant robots)
      Suiri, crime and murder
      Moé, fetishism or love for characters as main subject
      Shōjo-ai or Yuri, lesbian romance
      Shōnen-ai or Yaoi, gay romance
      Ecchi, erotic
      Hentai, pornography Genres

      Main article: Manga outside Japan International influence
      The first Westerner to introduce the visual approach and concepts of manga into English language comics was Vernon Grant, who drew comics in 1969-1972 while he was living in Japan. At the time, he was absorbing numerous Japanese comics, including Kazuo Koike's 28-volume samurai epic Lone Wolf and Cub, which he wrote about in the Mainichi Daily News in 1972. From 1977 to 1988, Grant published his series, The Love Rangers about a racially mixed space crew spreading love thoughout the universe. In 1983, Frederik L. Schodt's Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics (Kodansha) profiled creators and detailed manga's background and history for American readers.
      Following increasing interest during the 1990s, manga eventually grew into a large industry in America, tripling during 2002-05 to become a $180 million market by 2005.

      North America
      In France there is a "Nouvelle Manga" movement started by Frédéric Boilet which seeks to combine mature sophisticated daily life manga with the artistic style of traditional Franco-Belgian comics. While the movement also involves Japanese artists, a handful of French cartoonists other than Boilet have decided to embrace its ideal. France is the biggest country after Japan where Manga are most sold, with 10 million books in 2005.
      The manga style has influenced not only writers and artists, but musicians as well. Turkish rock band maNga [sic] has not only its name derived from the style; their videos and album cover feature manga-style animation and the members of the band have their own manga characters, drawn by award-winning artist Kaan Demirçelik. English metal band Versus Akira derives its name and certain stylistic qualities in the music and artwork from the famous Japanese anime film/manga Akira.

      American artist and writer Frank Miller has been heavily influenced by manga and in particular by Koike's Lone Wolf and Cub. Miller was one of the first American comic artists to make use of decompression, a style prevalent in manga.
      Other American artists such as Becky Cloonan (Demo, East Coast Rising), Ben Dunn (Ninja High School), Corey Lewis (Sharknife, PENG), Joe Madureira (Battle Chasers) and Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley (Lost At Sea, Scott Pilgrim) are also influenced by the mainstream manga style and have received acclaim for their work outside of anime/manga fan circles. These artists have their roots in the anime/manga subculture of their particular regions (as well as the Internet and webcomics), but incorporate many other influences that make their work more palatable to non-manga readers.
      American artist Paul Pope worked in Japan for Kodansha on the manga anthology Afternoon. Before he was fired (due to an editorial change at Kodansha) he was developing many ideas for the anthology that he would later publish in the U.S. as Heavy Liquid. As a result his work features a strong influence from manga without influences from international otaku culture.
      In addition, there are many amateur artists who are influenced exclusively by the manga style. Many of these have their own small publishing houses, and some webcomics in this style have become very popular (see Megatokyo and "Sequence (manga)"). For the most part, these artists are not yet recognized outside of the anime and manga fan community.

      Language notes

      Bilingual manga
      Japanese popular culture
      La nouvelle manga
      List of films based on manga
      List of manga
      List of manga by Japanese title
      List of manga distributors
      List of manga magazines
      List of mangaka
      Manga iconography
      Manga outside Japan
      Manhua (Chinese comics)
      Manhwa (Korean comics)
      Original English-language manga
      Scanlation (fan scanned and translated manga)

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